CoxHealth and St. Louis Children’s Hospital Announce First Step to Expand Pediatric Care Across Southwest Missouri

SPRINGFIELD and ST. LOUIS, Mo., (May 21, 2024) – CoxHealth and St. Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH) announced today a first step toward expanding pediatric care in southwest Missouri with the signing of a letter of intent (LOI) to form a new joint venture.

By working together, CoxHealth and SLCH – with the support and expertise of pediatric specialists at Washington University School of Medicine – aim to increase access to world-class pediatric care and create a health care hub for children and families in Springfield, southwest Missouri, and beyond.

Recognized as one of the nation’s premier pediatric hospitals, St. Louis Children’s Hospital is staffed exclusively by Washington University pediatric specialists and is part of the renowned BJC Health System (BJC), headquartered in St. Louis, Mo.

As envisioned, this new relationship would transform pediatric care in southwest Missouri to be more accessible, advanced and sustainable. For these communities, that will mean:

Improved access: creating a standalone pediatric outpatient center allowing families to stay close to home for care and reducing the need to travel long distances.

Advanced care: enhancing CoxHealth’s pediatric and NICU inpatient care through closer collaboration with Washington University clinicians and St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Specialty providers: joining forces to recruit and retain the best pediatric providers to serve the children in southwest Missouri.

Community input from residents in the Springfield region has been, and will continue to be, a guiding light in our decision making.

In a public listening session held last December, CoxHealth leaders heard from parents and advocates, as well as clinicians and community leaders. Everyone agreed: Our region deserves comprehensive pediatric care.

“In St. Louis Children’s and Washington University, we are fortunate to have collaborators that are mutually committed to working with us to make Springfield a medical hub for pediatric care,” said Max Buetow, CoxHealth President and CEO. “Today marks an important step in what will be a thoughtful and intentional process to determine how we can improve and expand access to pediatric care for hundreds of thousands of families in this region.”

Following the signing of the LOI, CoxHealth and St. Louis Children’s Hospital will begin the due diligence process with the goal of reaching a final agreement by early fall.

“St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine, and CoxHealth have a shared mission to provide exceptional health care for our patients and communities,” said Trish Lollo, St. Louis Children’s Hospital President. “We look forward to continued discussions to determine how that could best be accomplished in southwest Missouri.”

About CoxHealth

CoxHealth is an award-winning regional health system with six hospitals, more than 80 clinics, five ERs and more than 13,500 employees throughout southwest Missouri. CoxHealth is Missouri’s first hospital system accredited by DNV Healthcare for quality and patient safety. Cox Medical Centers, which includes CoxHealth’s Springfield hospitals, is designated as a Magnet® hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program, and CoxHealth is also the only Springfield hospital named for seven years to U.S. News & World Report's Best Regional Hospitals list. CoxHealth is recognized by CareChex®, the medical quality rating division of Comparion®, as among the Top 10 percent U.S. hospitals for patient safety in overall hospital, medical and surgical care. For more information, visit

St. Louis Children’s Hospital

SLCH is the oldest pediatric hospital west of the Mississippi River and is regularly recognized nationally and internationally for its expertise. For the last 15 years, U.S. News & World Report has recognized SLCH as one of the nation's top 25 children's hospitals. SLCH is designated as a Magnet® hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program, and is one of only 76 hospitals worldwide to achieve a fourth consecutive four-year Magnet Recognition® for nursing excellence. SLCH is the only pediatric hospital in Missouri and Illinois that is nationally recognized by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) as a Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center, which is the highest classification of trauma care.

About Washington University School of Medicine

WashU Medicine is a global leader in academic medicine, including biomedical research, patient care and educational programs with 2,900 faculty. Its National Institutes of Health (NIH) research funding portfolio is the second largest among U.S. medical schools and has grown 56% in the last seven years. Together with institutional investment, WashU Medicine commits well over $1 billion annually to basic and clinical research innovation and training. Its faculty practice is consistently within the top five in the country, with more than 1,900 faculty physicians practicing at 130 locations and who are also the medical staffs of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals of BJC HealthCare. WashU Medicine has a storied history in MD/PhD training, recently dedicated $100 million to scholarships and curriculum renewal for its medical students, and is home to top-notch training programs in every medical subspecialty as well as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and audiology and communications sciences.


Cox Health
Randy Berger, , 417-818-0494

St. Louis Children’s Hospital/BJC Health System
Laura High, , 618-304-7854

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